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Elephant Polo

Our country, Nepal is a famous destination for adventure sports all around the world. Elephant Polo, among other sports, is a rare, daring, and unique activity that exists in Nepal. Members of the Maharaja’s Harem initially played this game in India at the turn of the century to keep themselves occupied. The co-founders, James Manclark, a Scottish landowner, and Jim Edwards, came up with the concept of Elephant Polo in Nepal.Before many years, a soccer ball was used in the initial elephant polo games. The soccer ball was changed with a regular polo ball when it was discovered that the elephants like smashing the balls. Elephant Polo, often known as the world’s largest sport, is a sport that has always punched beyond its weight. So, whether you’re seeking for adventure or just curiosity, Chitwan is the place to just go. You’ll be just one of the thousands of visitors attracted to this sport.

The World Elephant Polo Association (WEPA) was founded in 1982 in Chitwan, Nepal, with its headquarters at Tiger Tops Jungle Lodge.The first elephant was performed as the game Elephant Polo on a grass airfield that was near Meghuauly, close to the Chitwan National Park’s border. Elephant Polo is a sport that matches the terms, base and rules of the game horse polo. Apart from the fact that an elephant replaces a horse in polo, the elephants are guided by their trainers who are known as mahouts. Mahouts are the elephant keepers who have often worked with elephants for several years, and elephants respond quickly and easily to mahouts’ indications and instructions. There are two main methods by which the mahout communicates with the elephant. The first is by spoken orders, and the second is via putting pressure on the elephant’s rear ears with the feet. It is the players’ job to inform Mahout about where they are going, when they should stop, and in which direction they should travel.

The game Elephant Polo is quite and mostly similar to horse polo, however the pitch is 34 yards long which is due to the slower speed of the elephant. The game comprises of two 10-minute chukkers of playing time and is played by four players in each side on a defined pitch of 140 x 70 meters using a regular size polo ball. The intermission of the game is 15 minutes long, and the game is stopped and started by the referee blowing the whistle. The bamboo poles are fitted with a conventional polo mallet at the end. The length of the stick that is used is determined by the elephant’s size, which ranges from 5 to 12 feet.

The Elephant Polo was such a game in Nepal where many teams from all around the world used to compete, including those from Scotland, Thailand, England, and Hong Kong. The Tiger Tops Tuskers, the local favorite, used to participate in Elephant Polo as well. Following the day’s play, all of the players and visitors would gather at the Golghar, a traditional circular house with a fantastic bar, for meals and drinks. Although the Elephant Polo was an extremely funny and enjoyable tournament played in Nepal, this game ended in 2017 by Tiger Tops. This game came to an end because of the suffering and the pain faced by the beautiful elephants. Instead of elephant back, jungle excursions, adventure enthusiasts now choose for jungle walks and Jeep rides.

-Article written by: Saru Niraula for Land Nepal

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